If you or a family member has been injured or become sick, it probably comes as no surprise to you that the medical bills can set you back, as can the lost income from taking the time you need to recover. But the financial hit is not just limited to the time you are out of work. As reported in The New York Times, data now show that the economic impact of wage loss is a greater threat to economic security than medical bills themselves. For people who are in their fifties, being hospitalized correlates with a 20 percent decrease in income that lasts for more than six years.

 

Insurance helps, sort of

Having health insurance can defray the costs of mounting medical bills. But health insurance does nothing to pay for your lost wages if you are too injured, sick or disabled to work. Those who do return to work after an injury or an illness do not always return in their full capacity. Returning with reduced hours, or taking a lower paying job perpetuates the financial hardship.

Legal help can make a difference

Depending on the circumstances of your illness or injury, health insurance may not be your only lifeline to financial security. Workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability benefits, or a personal injury lawsuit can help to create a buffer against financial hardship when you need it most. It is important to arm yourself with the right legal information if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury that threatens your financial well-being.